The Commercial-News, Danville, IL

Local News

March 3, 2013

Fishermen oppose dam removal

(Continued)

DANVILLE —

The Danville Street Railway and Light Co. obtained a permit from the Rivers and Lakes Commission to build the dam pursuant to an order dated Aug. 19, 1914. The Danville Street Railway & Light Co. merged into Illinois Power and Light Corp. in 1923.

A license to repair the dam was granted to General Motors Corp. on June 30, 1970. It alleged that continued impoundment of the water was essential to its industrial operations.

GM used the dam as a water intake for its upstream manufacturing facility, which operated a foundry.

In 1972, Illinois Power Co. conveyed the property, and others, to the city. All the property conveyed was at the city’s request for an urban renewal project.

The dam has been deteriorating and no longer serves as a water intake structure.

The 220-foot wide dam is the only dam/obstruction on the Vermilion River in east central Illinois. The dam is about 1,300 feet downstream of the north-south Illinois Route 1 (Gilbert Street) bridge.

Removing the dam would connect the Wabash River, the longest undammed river east of the Mississippi River, with the Middle Fork of the Vermilion River.

Mayor Scott Eisenhauer said safety is first and foremost a concern for the city — for those using the river and also emergency responders.

The dam removals also can increase tourism opportunities, he said.

City officials have long talked about riverfront development opportunities.

He said city officials will review the IDNR’s report about the options, other than removals, to make the river safer.

Cost and where funding is coming from is a factor, Eisenhauer said.

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